HOUSTON -- Carlos Lee has been drawing more walks since the trades that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies and Michael Bourn to Braves last month, something the Astros are encouraging the slugger to embrace. Lee has 11 walks in 14 August games after drawing six free passes in 26 games in July.
Astros manager Brad Mills said he had a long talk with Lee on Tuesday about being open to drawing the walks if opposing pitchers are willing to pitch around him.
"That's part of what we talked about, to go ahead and take your walks," Mills said. "I said, 'Go ahead and take your walks and keep the inning going and keep the inning alive.' So many times we use the phrase, 'Keep the line moving.' The more guys you get on base, it gives the guys behind you an opportunity and turns the lineup over quicker."
Mills had Lee out of the starting lineup on Wednesday for only the second time since July 10. He's hitting just .152 in August, after batting .300 with eight homers and 45 RBIs in May, June and July.
"I want to get him going," Mills said. "He needs to get going. The last month, he's still got 19 RBIs in the last 28-30 days, which isn't terribly bad, but at the same time, he's still not that type of hitter he can be."
Bogusevic strikes again with bases loaded
HOUSTON -- One day after hitting a walk-off grand slam to beat the Cubs, right fielder Brian Bogusevic struck again during Wednesday's series finale, though he wasn't in the lineup because of his heroics.
"I already had him in the lineup," manager Brad Mills said prior to the Astros' 4-3 win in the rubber game. "It definitely helps out when a guy comes through, and you'd like to get him more at-bats and keep him ready for those types of situations. He's been doing such a great job as a pinch-hitter, both last year and this year."
Bogusevic, who drove in two runs with a bases-loaded double in the third inning on Wednesday, hit the Astros' first walk-off, pinch-hit slam since Gregg Zaun in 2002, and it was only the second home run of his career. A former first-round pick as a pitcher, who made the transition to the outfield in 2008, Bogusevic said the home runs can't help but give him confidence.
"I think it comes along with anything, whether pitching or hitting," he said. "A little bit of success breeds confidence, so, hopefully, it can snowball into sustainable success."
Bogusevic, who grew up in the Chicago area, had plenty of messages from friends and family members back home, as well as former teammates.
"I heard from a lot of people and my parents heard from people, too," he said. "It was crazy."
Astros have preliminary talks about callups
HOUSTON -- Astros general manager Ed Wade and manager Brad Mills have had some preliminary talks about what they're going to do when rosters can expanded beyond 25 players on Sept. 1.
The Astros generally don't call up a large number of players, and this year could be even smaller, considering they've already called up a majority of their top prospects in the last few weeks, following the trades of Jeff Keppinger, Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn.
"We've gone over some things," Mills said. "Nothing is set in stone yet. It's kind of in the first phase of talking about it a little bit. There has been some [talks], but it's been very minimal."
The Astros will likely call up another pitcher or two and probably a third catcher. Most of the moves will have to wait until the end of the Minor League season -- Sept. 5 for Triple-A Oklahoma City and Double-A Corpus Christi.
Matt Downs, who was drafted by the Giants and appeared in 29 games for them last year, will get his first look at his former teammates when San Francisco comes to town this weekend. Downs received a World Series ring from the Giants after they won last season, getting it shipped to his home in Alabama.
"I got a lot of friends over there on their side. It's going to be neat to catch up with everybody," said Downs, who was acquired on waivers by Astros last year.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.